Saturday, July 17, 2004

US and drug giants not villains in Aids crisis - JULY 17, 2004

Now this is a seriously good article. If nothing else, it should prove a nice counter balance to all the stuff that's been put up by the various activist. Strikingly similar to the anti-globalist I say.

Is there room for improvement? Of course there is. Start off simply with Messr Bush's rather misguided attempt to tie AIDS aid to programs that promote abstinience first and particularly emphasize on the inefficacies of and the uselessness of condom and contraceptive use (See Focus on the Family, did a little write up on them in one of my older blog pieces). I mean first off, logic: Many of these societies don't subscribe to the same judeo-christian thinking on pre-marital sex and even if they do, I think it's time for the religious right to pull their heads out of the sand and consider reality today. Secondly, facts: All of it basically points to evidence that the programs that are most successful at the very least places as much importance on condom use (the ABC program has condoms in it at least), statistical modeling has been done to show that condom use was instrumental in bring down the infection and incident rate of AIDS in there...

Next, Generic Drugs. Are there better? Should be, after all, it's pretty much chemically the same. Besides which, generic drugs have two major advantages to them over the proprietry ones. One, cost, generics win hands down, not least because pills are cheap to make and all the research has already been done by the big pharmas. Two, simplicity, two pills a day, instead of the cocktail of six over varying timeframes. The problem is that the rather substantial money the US is pouring in is used to purchase proprietry drugs pending approval of the generic ones by the FDA which does make some sense, after all, would you give someone else something you yourself would not take? Admirably but a little misguided IMHO.

Intellectual Property Rights. The pharmas have got a seriously bad deal out of this. Yes, compulsory licensing is a part of IP and yes many of these nations have a health crisis. But I seriously wonder whether pharmas will develop any drugs that could cure or alleviate 3rd world problems? After all, spend $900 million (most drugs take about this amount to develop, taking into account failures as well) to develop a cure of aids and next thing you know, the nations start screaming 'national health crisis' under TRIPs and *poof* generic drug companies copy it and make all the profits. And where will the pharmas be?

I mean, why not do a patent buyout if the world is really so concerned? You protect IP and encourage the golden goose to lay more eggs. Besides which, whose responsibility is it anyway? The 1st World? The pharmas? 3rd World governments? UN?


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